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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Ectopic expression of Oct-4 blocks progenitor-cell differentiation and causes dysplasia in epithelial tissues.

The POU-domain transcription factor Oct-4 is normally expressed in pluripotent cells of the mammalian embryo. In addition, germ-cell tumors and a few somatic tumors show detectable expression of Oct-4. While Oct-4's role during preimplantation development is to maintain embryonic cells in a pluripotent state, little is known about its potential oncogenic properties. Here we investigate the effect of ectopic Oct-4 expression on somatic tissues of adult mice using a doxycycline-dependent expression system. Activation of Oct-4 results in dysplastic growths in epithelial tissues that are dependent on continuous Oct-4 expression. Dysplastic lesions show an expansion of progenitor cells and increased beta-catenin transcriptional activity. In the intestine, Oct-4 expression causes dysplasia by inhibiting cellular differentiation in a manner similar to that in embryonic cells. These data show that certain adult progenitors remain competent to interpret key embryonic signals and support the notion that progenitor cells are a driving force in tumorigenesis.[1]


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